Making beats and electronic music is an art, not a science. If you’re just getting started, it can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, producing music isn’t as hard as it seems. The most important thing you need to know is that there are no rules. There are no right or wrong ways to make music. You can do whatever you want with your beats and the only person who will judge you for your choice of sounds is you. All you need is creativity and patience – two things almost anyone can spare when doing something new and exciting! Experimentation is key in any creative field like this – especially as a beginner – so don’t be afraid to try different things until you find what works best for you! Here are some helpful tips on how to get started with making your first beat.
Choosing your DAW
Choosing your DAW is a big decision. You’ll want to pick the one you feel most comfortable with, but it always helps to check out what other producers are using. Many DAWs have presets for popular electronic genres like trap and hip hop so you can try those first and see if they sound good. Check out some YouTube videos of people using FL Studio, Ableton Live and Logic and see if any of them resonate with you.
Choosing your style and tempo
Once you have chosen a DAW, it’s time to think about the style and tempo of your beat. Remember: there are no rules! It’s your choice to make a track in any genre or with any tempo. You can even combine genres or tempos for fun! To get started, find some tracks by popular artists that you like. Listen to what they do with their beats and watch for things you might want to try yourself. This will help you decide on the style of your track and what kind of tempo it should have. If you don’t already know what kind of music you want to make, listen to some songs that catch your attention. Next, choose one song as the inspiration for your own track. Find an artist whose sound is similar to what you want and make a list of all of the instruments you hear in that song and when they appear and disappear.
Choosing your instruments
Some producers use samples of real instruments being played and some prefer synthesized sounds. You can use the sounds that come with the DAW or buy extra sample packs. Pick some that are similar to the style and sound you are going to create. If you have any equipment like keyboards or drum machines you can try recording them into your DAW and creating your own custom samples. You can also try experimenting with sampling sounds from vinyl but understand that the recordings belong to someone else and are their copyright. Your song will get flagged by YouTube if you try to upload something that is owned by someone else.
Programming your parts
When making a beat in your DAW you will be programming the parts in with the DAW’s MIDI editor or sequencer. Some people prefer the sequencer in FL Studio for writing beats and some like the traditional graphical editor in Ableton Live. DAWs also have synthesizers and virtual instruments that you can use to make your basslines and chords. Try making patterns in the order that they appear in the song, which will help make your beats feel more cohesive. Once you get the hang of that, try experimenting with adding some effects like reverb or filters for an interesting new sound!
Mixing and sharing your beat
So you’ve made your first beat and it sounds amazing! You’re feeling confident, excited, and proud of yourself for all the hard work that you put in. But how do you share your music with other people? First you will need to finalize the volume balance between all of your instruments. Make sure all the instruments and vocals in the track can be heard clearly. Use an EQ and/or compressor to certain tracks to add clarity and punch if necessary. Try adding some reverb to the snare and vocals and maybe some delay to some instruments to add some dimension. Export the mix as a wav and mp3 file and then upload the mp3 version to Soundcloud, YouTube, or anywhere else you want to share your music for free. If you want to get your music on Spotify or Apple Music you will need to go through a digital distribution company like DistroKid or Tunecore.
Conclusion: The best time to start making your first beats is right now! Do some research and see if any particular DAW catches your attention and seems like it will work for your needs. Ask yourself what some songs are that you want to sound like and some beat makers who have a style similar to what you want to make. Make some notes about what you like the most about those songs and beat makers and see if you can emulate some of those things. Don't forget to have fun! This is music and you might as well enjoy yourself while you hone your beat making and songwriting skills.
Futch - Music Production Coach, Ableton Certified Trainer